From the time I was a little girl, I loved to teach. As a child I would ask my teachers for extra worksheets to take home so that I could play school with my younger sister and neighborhood kids. My mother was a prime example of selfless, mothering love, putting aside her career to be a stay at home mom to my sister and me. She set a strong example for us and helped me realize that one day I also wanted to stay home with my kids and raise them. She is the person who helped me realize my God-given gift for teaching and later encouraged me along that path when I was headed in the opposite direction.
When my sister and I got older, our mother had the wisdom to place Godly women in our lives that we could look up to. Knowing that it is sometimes easier to talk to someone other than your own mother, she encouraged us to find trusted mentors outside of herself to confide in. It had a huge impact on me as I developed relationships with many influential women in my early life. As I went off to college to study music education, I met other women who had a significant role in shaping me as a person by listening to me, praying for me and encouraging me in my relationship with God, prayer-life and daily Bible study. Even today, I continue to make time to meet with women who shape and influence my view of what a mother should be and the kind that I hope to be one day as well.
When I graduated from college, I started teaching Sunday school in my home church and had the opportunity to myself become a mentor to other young women. I befriended a couple of junior high and high school girls and I spent time listening to them and praying with them. I’ve discovered that my goal in mentoring, or discipleship, is to help girls answer their own questions about their walk with God and assist them in understanding and applying the bible in their daily lives. I also try and get them to recognize the impact that prayer can truly have in every circumstance. Through discipling, I hope to be able to guide younger girls through life from a Biblical perspective instead of a worldly one; just as I desire to one day do with my own biological children.
I started my career as a music teacher in a public school near my hometown and teach over 600 kids each year. In my early years as a teacher I had a hard time connecting with some of the more difficult students but the school’s counselor was always willing to sit down and take the time to help me understand each one of them. After hearing many hard stories, I began to realize that I didn’t need to hear a child’s story to know that they desired individual love and attention. I started to recognize that no matter their circumstances, I could encourage them and help them grow.
In those early years of teaching I also began to offer piano and flute lessons out of my home. The personal interaction with students in a one-on-one learning situation is very different than teaching in a classroom of twenty or thirty-something students. It has been empowering to see their uniqueness, watch them grow as individuals and be able to encourage and inspire them to know that they can succeed.
As a mentor and teacher now for several years, I have discovered a deep passion to teach others how to study the Bible. I recall fondly how many of my mentors inspired me as a teenager and young adult to develop a love of God’s word, an active prayer life and a godly character that reflects the Holy Spirit. It made me realize that what I look forward to most in parenting my own children one day is to raise them to know and understand the bible in a way that can help them have a thriving relationship with God.
But in the years that have elapsed since my college days, I have yet to marry and have children of my own. I never expected to be living this many years as a single adult. Growing up, I never had to worry about the next thing because it would just happen. In my mind, when a person finished one thing, they just went on to the next life event. First I went to elementary school, then junior and senior high and from there, college. Once college was over, I expected that I would simply get married and a few years later have kids. When I graduated and found myself still single, I focused on the next goal: getting a job and moving out of my parent’s house. A few years later, when I had accomplished those dreams as well, I was surprised to find that I had still not yet met my husband. And while I love the life I have, with a variety of mothering roles, I am still on the lookout to find a husband with whom I can share a life-long covenant and have children. If and when that day comes and I haven’t yet had a chance to bear children, it may be quite a life-perspective change. At that point I know I will go through a mourning process to let go of the dream of being a biological mother, but for the present, my focus is on living for Christ with what I have and choosing to live intentional about where God has placed me now and the lives that I can impact.
In the meantime, it is my heart’s desire to continue teaching and mentoring in my community. Since I work in a public school, incorporating Christ into my daily lesson plans is not an option. I had to be creative with all the Bible teaching inspirations floating around in my head, so I created a website to share my Bible study resources and ideas with other people and help them learn how to study the Bible as well. I have also written a devotional curriculum for families to use with their children at home and it is my growing desire to be able to start a weekly discipleship group for kids where I can teach them to study the Bible in a more active, gripping way. In the future I also hope to open a community home for girls as they journey from life as a student to life as an adult. A home like this, that offers spiritual discipleship as its model, would give young adults the financial and spiritual support they need as they transition into adulthood.
I believe that God has entrusted me with the gift of teaching and mentoring and I try to use it in service to others as a mentor, teacher and friend. Overall, it is my desire to be a prayerful, patient and gentle woman who is full of grace and spends undivided time and effort with my students, mentees and hopefully one day, my own children, teaching them about God’s word.
Lana teaches Music in the greater Portland, Oregon area and is the author and creator of the free online resources Studying the Bible: Resources for Adults and Children and Summer Family Devotions as well as the Scripture Journal for chapter by chapter Bible study notes, available for purchase here.